Countdown to High School Football: Week 13

Loyola, Calvert Hall renew Thanksgiving rivalry; eight locals vie for state championship berth

Published on: November 24, 2022 12:12 AM EST|Updated on: November 28, 2022 8:40 AM EST

Milford Mill's Sean Williams bursts through a hole in the Franklin defense for a nice gain.

The next-to-final week of the high school football season starts Thanksgiving morning with one of the area’s great rivalry matches and concludes Saturday afternoon with the final piece of the state public championship puzzle getting set.

Thursday, Calvert Hall and Loyola Blakefield meet for the 102nd time at Towson University’s Johnny Unitas Stadium. The Dons hope to continue momentum for last year’s thrilling comeback win.

It’s semifinal time in the public state playoffs. Eight local squads look to punch their ticket to Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis for next week’s championship finale.

No. 7 Calvert Hall (6-6) vs. Loyola Blakefield (4-5)

What: Turkey Bowl

When: Thursday, 10 a.m.

Where: Unitas Stadium, Towson University

A Baltimore sports tradition continues as Calvert Hall and Loyola meet for the 102nd time. The Cardinals seek redemption on a couple of fronts.

Calvert Hall’s bid for a second straight MIAA A Conference title was crushed by No. 2 Archbishop Spalding, 34-10, in the title match at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium last Friday. The Cardinals (3-2 MIAA A) turned the ball over three times as Carter O’Connell’s 23-yard field and Daniel Harper Jr.’s 11-yard touchdown run accounted for their points.

Calvert Hall looks to end its season on high note with senior quarterback Noah Brannock (18 touchdown passes) leading the offense with Harper and Dawon Dorsey in the backfield and Donovan Lewis as the featured receiver. Defensive back Darius Smith (6.7 tackles per game), Ricardo Cooper (six interceptions) and Keaton Eyring (four sacks) lead the defense.

Loyola is well-rested, last playing Nov. 4 (defeated Mount Zion Prep from Prince George’s County, 14-12). The Dons, in their first season back in the MIAA A Conference (2-3) have rebounded from a four-game skid that featured back-to-back overtime losses behind the play of sophomore quarterback Bradley Seiss (1,396 passing yards, 12 TDs), running back Kendrick Worthington (469 yards) and linebacker Tommy Tucker (88 tackles).

In one of the most memorable finishes in Turkey Bowl history, Noah Bull’s 15-yard touchdown reception with nine seconds left in regulation gave Loyola a come-from-behind 41-35 victory last year, snapping a six-game losing streak by the Dons. Loyola leads the series, 50-43-8.

Harford Tech (8-4) at Patuxent (10-2)

What: Class 2A/1A state semifinal

When: Friday, 6:30 p.m.

The Cobras, who made their first state postseason appearance in 2017, look to advance to their first state championship game. The Harford County school denied South Carroll a second straight 2A/1A state final trip with a 14-7 victory last Friday evening in Carroll County.

Thomas Smith’s 43-yard touchdown pass to Karon Evans and Troy Wallace’s 13-yard run was enough for Harford Tech. The Cobras’ defense held South Carroll scoreless until the game’s final minute.

Patuxent held off Washington County’s Williamsport, 33-24, last Friday to advance to its first state semifinal since winning the Class 2A state crown in 2015. Sophomore quarterback Evan Blouir accounted for four touchdowns and 244 yards, and Asa Locks scored two touchdowns, including a momentum-changing 95-yard kickoff return.

The Panthers have won five straight since a 28-14 loss to Southern Maryland Athletic Conference rival Calvert. Calvert plays defending state 2A/1A champ Dunbar Saturday afternoon.

Harford Tech has also claimed its last five decisions, outscoring the opposition, 138-26. The Cobras have made two prior state semifinal appearances, losing to Gwynn Park in 2017 and South Carroll last year.

Joppatowne (10-1) at Fort Hill (11-1)

What: Class 1A state semifinal

When: Friday, 6:30 p.m.

Joppatowne plays in its first state semifinal since 2009. The Mariners slipped past Lake Clifton, 38-30, in last week’s state quarterfinals.

AJ Wilson’s 23-yard touchdown pass to Zachariah Horton with three minutes, 48 seconds left in regulation was the difference for the Harford County school. Wilson, a senior quarterback, accounted for four scores, including two scoring throws to Horton.

Joppatowne faces defending state champ Fort Hill without arguably its best player in Steven Robinson. Robinson, who has accounted for more than 2,000 all-purpose yards and 30 touchdowns, was ejected in the first quarter of last week’s quarterfinal for defensive targeting.

Per state rules, any player ejected from a game is automatically suspended for his team’s next game.

The Mariners, who are averaging 55 points through two postseason matches (42 ppg overall), will likely need to score in bunches against defending state champ Fort Hill and its methodical running attack. The Cumberland school easily disposed of Perryville, 49-7, in last Friday’s quarterfinals.

Jabril Daniels rushed for 165 yards and four touchdowns, and Mikey Allen added a rushing score. The Sentinels, ranked 19th in the state media poll, limited Perryville to just 63 yards.

Joppatowne’s last semifinal appearance was in 2009 when it lost to Frederick County’s Catoctin in the 1A state final. Since 2009, Fort Hill has won six state championships.

Stephen Decatur (10-2) at No. 3 Milford Mill (12-0)

What: Class 2A state semifinal

When: Friday, 6:30 p.m.

After falling behind early, Stephen Decatur scored the final 36 points to eliminate Prince George’s County’s Potomac on the road last Friday in a state quarterfinal. Brycen Coleman threw for two touchdowns and ran for another, and Decatur’s defense produced 16 points off three Potomac turnovers.

Sean Williams rushed for 218 yards and scored a pair of second half touchdowns for the Millers, who trailed 7-6 at halftime. Junior quarterback Deshawn Purdie threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to senior Colby Jones as the Baltimore County squad had its lowest scoring effort of the season.

After falling behind early, Stephen Decatur scored the final 36 points to eliminate Prince George’s County’s Potomac on the road last Friday in a quarterfinal. Brycen Coleman threw for two touchdowns and ran for another, and Decatur’s defense helped produce 16 points off three Potomac turnovers.

The Seahawks, in their first state semifinal since 2004, are averaging 41 points in the postseason. Milford Mill’s defense, led by senior linemen Emmanuel Gee, has allowed 62 points all season.

The Millers, who lost to Prince George’s County’s Douglass in last year’s 2A final, seek their third state final trip since 2017. Milford Mill last won a state title in 1987 (Class A).

Damascus (10-1) at No. 14 River Hill (10-1)

What: Class 3A state semifinal

When: Friday, 6:30 p.m.

The Hawks play in their first state semifinal since 2013. The Howard County school grinded out a 7-0 quarterfinal victory over 15th-ranked Franklin last Friday.

Eje Okojie’s 65-yard second quarter touchdown was the difference for River Hill, which hasn’t allowed a point in two postseason decisions. The Clarksville school faces its biggest challenge in Damascus, which has won four 3A state championships since 2015.

The Hornets from Montgomery County handled River Hill’s Howard County rival Long Reach, 47-12, in last weekend’s state quarterfinal round. Damascus ran off 34 unanswered points as senior running back Dillan Dunathan finished with 273 yards and four touchdowns.

The Hawks will try to dictate the pace with junior quarterback Omar Hassan and Okojie and Ethan Burnett in the backfield. River Hill last reached a state final in 2012 (3A) when it claimed its fourth title in six-year (2007-2012) stretch.

No. 8 Broadneck (11-1) at Quince Orchard (12-0)

What: Class 4A state semifinal

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

The Bruins play in their first state semifinal since 2015. The Anne Arundel County squad ran its win streak to 11 with a 39-7 romp over Montgomery County’s Churchill in last weekend’s quarterfinals.

Ian Mauldin rushed for 180 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries, and senior quarterback Cam Catterton threw for 140 yards and a touchdown. Broadneck, which shared the Anne Arundel County crown with Arundel, has outscored opponents, 426-73, since falling to eventual MIAA A Conference champ and second-ranked Archbishop Spalding in its season opener.

Quince Orchard is arguably the state’s best public school squad. The reigning 4A state champs have won 26 straight decisions, including a 21-6 victory over Old Mill in last weekend’s quarterfinal round.

Everston Howard and Kendall Johnson each had touchdown runs, and Evan Church hit two field goals for the Cougars, ranked No. 5 in the state media poll. The Montgomery County school has won 48 of its last 49 decisions, dating back to week four of the 2018 campaign.

Broadneck’s previous state semifinal (4A) appearance was a 35-24 loss to Howard. The Bruins last reached a state final (3A) in 2003.

No. 11 Arundel (9-2) at No. 10 Dundalk (10-1)

What: Class 4A state semifinal

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

The Wildcats and Owls meet again with a spot in the state final on the line. Dundalk defeated Montgomery County’s Blake, 37-0, in last week’s state quarterfinals.

Jordan Fiorenza rushed for 226 yards and three touchdowns, and Desmond Oxendine added 101 yards. Ja Bonner finished nine-of-10 for 104 yards for Dundalk, which has won its last seven after a loss at No. 12 and 3A quarterfinalist Westminster.

For the second straight year, Arundel eliminated Montgomery County’s Seneca Valley with a 21-7 home decision last Friday. Sophomore running back TJ Mordecai scored two touchdowns and Ahmad Taylor had a touchdown run.

The Wildcats, whose only losses are to No. 1 St. Frances and Delaware state 3A semifinalist Smyrna, were blitzed by Dundalk, 40-6, in last year’s semifinals. Arundel last reached a state final in 2007 (4A), the last time an Anne Arundel program played in a state championship match.

Dundalk, which lost to Mervo in last year’s 4A/3A state final, seeks its third title game berth. The Owls lost to Damascus in the 3A title match in 2015.

Calvert (10-2) vs. No. 4 Dunbar (12-0)

What: Class 2A/1A state semifinal

When: Saturday, 1 p.m.

Where: Sugar Cain Field, Baltimore

The Poets look to secure a 15th state finals berth. The Baltimore City school extended the area’s longest win streak to 24 with a 64-0 rout of Elkton in last week’s state quarterfinals.

Old Dominion University commit Devin Roche accounted for three touchdowns and senior running back Tristan Kenan added 109 yards and two rushing touchdowns. The defending state 2A/1A champ Poets have outscored opponents, 112-0, in the postseason.

Calvert is back in the state semifinals for the first time since 2016 thanks to a 47-6 rout of Prince George’s County’s Largo last Friday. Junior running back Domaine Wallace rushed for 178 yards and three touchdowns, and Jason Kinney and Erron Touch each added a score.

Calvert, which won the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference championship, is averaging 46 points in the postseason. The Cavaliers last won a state title (3A) in 2000.

THURSDAY

Top 15

Turkey Bowl at Towson University - No. 7 Calvert Hall (6-6) vs. Loyola Blakefield (4-5), 10 a.m.

FRIDAY

Top 15

Class 2A state semifinal - Stephen Decatur (10-2) at No. 3 Milford Mill (12-0), 6:30 p.m.

Class 3A state semifinal - Damascus (10-1) at No. 14 River Hill (10-1), 6:30 p.m.

Class 4A/3A state semifinal - No. 11 Arundel (9-2) at No. 10 Dundalk (10-1), 7 p.m.

Class 4A state semifinal - No. 8 Broadneck (11-1) at Quince Orchard (12-0), 7 p.m.

MPSSAA TOURNAMENT

State semifinals

Class 1A - Joppatowne (10-1) at Fort Hill (11-1), 6:30 p.m.

Class 2A/1A - Harford Tech (8-4) at Patuxent (10-2), 6:30 p.m.

SATURDAY

Top 15

Class 2A/1A state semifinal at Sugar Cain Field - Calvert (10-2) vs. No. 4 Dunbar (12-0), 1 p.m.